Romain Dumas completed the first test runs with Volkswagen’s updated ID. R electric prototype on the Nürburgring Nordschleife on Thursday, ahead of the record attempt next month.
Volkswagen will attempt to set a new lap record for electric vehicles on the German circuit with an upgraded version of the car it broke the Pikes Peak record with last year.
After earlier test sessions with the new car at Dumas’s home track in Ales and at Circuit Paul Ricard, Almeria and Oschersleben, only an hour away from Volkswagen Motorsport’s headquarters in Hanover, today’s test marked the first run with the ID.R at the legendary circuit in the Eifel.
“As we all know, you can’t compare the Nordschleife to any other circuit, so even though the test sessions at other tracks went well, this is a totally different affair,” Dumas said.
Just after 8 a.m., the car left the team’s temporary service structure, set up in front of the Turn 13 grandstand, and headed out onto the Nordschleife for an installation lap.
It duly returned after around eight minutes, to the visible relief of Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets.
“I was happy when the car went out, but I was even more happy when it came back in one piece,” the Belgian commented.
Volkswagen Motorsport brought two identical chassis to the Nurburgring to maximize testing opportunities.
“Of course, it needs some time to recharge the car after every run. Having two cars on site allows us to work on one car or to have Romain driving it while the other is being recharged, and vice versa,” technical director François-Xavier Demaison explained.
Unlike the events at Pikes Peak and Goodwood last year, where the earlier iteration of the ID. R ran on Michelin tires, Volkswagen Motorsport is now working with Bridgestone for the Nürburgring project.
“Bridgestone is one of our preferred partners for production cars, so we approached them about a possible cooperation for this initiative,” Volkswagen Motorsport spokesman Andre Dietzel said.
“Apart from motorcycle racing, Bridgestone hasn’t been doing much in motorsport in Europe for the past few years, but of course, the brand has a long and successful pedigree, also in single-seaters and prototypes.
“The tires for the ID.R were developed in Japan and then brought to Europe.”
At 10:22 a.m., Dumas went out for his next run, another out-and-in lap that was completed in a hand-clocked unofficial time of a little bit over seven minutes.
Smeets explained that the plan for Thursday’s running was to do “11 or 12 runs, every time in-and-out.”
On his third run, Dumas came to a halt at Hatzenbach, having decided to park the car after hearing a strange noise.
“Nothing major, but of course, I didn’t want to take any risk,” he said. “In general, the feeling so far is good.
“For my first lap early in the morning, the track was still damp after rain in the night, but then conditions improved. The goal for today is to acquire as much data as we can.”
Today’s test will run until 5 p.m. local time, with Volkswagen sharing the track with Manthey Racing which is running two Porsche 911 GT3 Rs.
Another three-hour test at the Nürburgring is scheduled to take place on Friday, May 10. “After that, we have some slots available for record attempts,” Sven Smeets revealed.
Nürburgring track records are monitored by the circuit itself, with a notary and specified timing equipment required to be in place.